Karuizawa 1981

Overall rating
Whiskybase ID
Single Malt
Distillery Bottling
Bottling serie
Noh Whisky
Stated Age
31 years old
Sherry Butt
Number of bottles
62.3 % Vol.
750 ml
Bottled for
K&L Wine Merchants
Added on
21 Sep 2013 10:50 am
Cask StrengthSingle Cask Whisky

Average value

€ 12534.23

23 × in wishlist

14 × member ratings

41 × in collection

Whisky Reviews for Karuizawa 1981

3 users have left a review for this whisky and scored it an average of 91.00 points

  1. wheatfield scored this whisky 90 points Expert Junior

    Medium copper pour.  Nose is strong on charred oak, caramel, perhaps some cherry compote.  It's quite bourbon-like as the peat is mild and there are lots of strong, charred notes and burned sugars going on.  Mouth is a lot of alcohol heat and a touch of savory beef marinade upfront, then sweet cherry jam and lots of those bourbon flavors.  As it breaths some dried mushroom opens up.  Then an odd note on the finish that's like an aged lambic beer, a straight gueuze in fact.  Faintly funky, I suppose...wild yeast? Other cool bright notes on the finish.  This is good and quite odd.

    After drinking from this for some weeks, it's improved a lot.  Great rum cake and rich sweetness.  Savories of wood ear mushroom, soft Indian spices.  Continues to evolve and improve.
    • Nose
      92 92
    • Taste
      90 90
    • Finish
      92 92

  2. ntk55 scored this whisky 92 points Expert Junior

    This is similar in profile to other 1981's, but with more of an edge and less softness. It has less finesse, and is not as seductive and perfumed as others from the vintage (think cocktail). A bit strong on summer fruits and a tad biting, but otherwise delicious and unique like good old Karuizawa. Maybe has a wildness that's more exciting as well.

  3. numen scored this whisky 91 points Expert Senior

    • Nose
      Nose: Syrupy and tightly wound cherries latrices. Brown sugar soup. Soy
      sauce, smoked Chinese pork ribs (light sulfur?) Moss, earthy mushrooms
      and old, nourished forest. A little closed, too. With time, oaky rancio,
      smoke, inscrutable wall of dark fruit, lots of chocolate. Nuts,
      marzipan, almond extract. Spun sugar and sugar cane almost fermenting.
      Menthol, too. A bit lighter as it goes on. (with water) Cinnamon,
      ginger, and soft malty sherry. Honeyed spun sugar comes out. Brown
      sugar, salty/savory elements become more diffuse. Dry oak with some
      tannic orange note.
    • Taste
      Palate: Warm, but really rich and chewy. Ham, soy sauce, cherries, soft
      strawberries and sherry notes, hoisin sauce. Oranges, leather, brown
      sugar, armagnacy wood. Heavy coffee, ginger. Dry, for one. (with water)
      Water calms it down, yet it's still thick and very oily. Loses some
      fruit, rather more on richly sweet maltiness, and more of that saucy
      Chinese/Japanese salt and deluxe soy and oyster sauce.
    • Finish
      Finish: A graceful finish of the slightly sweet savory. And maybe just a
      hint of weak coffee. Palate feels almost clean after a while. This is a
      very elegant dram, though the finish is short and the fruit is on the
      edge. More robust with air in the bottle, and really shows off the kind
      of awesome luxury ham and soy that Karuizawa sometimes does. This is one
      that must not be rushed, and get better with time and age. I go back
      and forth on this, it left me wanting and hoping for more, but there's
      no denying its excellence.


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